DAVENPORT, IOWA (August 11, 2021) — The Quad Cities Chamber honored two deserving recipients at its Annual Meeting with the Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.

Business of the Year honors went to the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition. The award recognizes the contributions of the dozens of Quad Cities city and county governments; public health; health-care providers; emergency operations; non-profit and private organizations; schools and education partners; and businesses. The collective group united and collaborated in the face of the pandemic to deliver the accurate, up-to-date information and resources our region’s businesses and organizations desperately needed to make critical decisions in their workplaces and the community. The Coalition, which spanned the river and local borders, was key in keeping our community safe. Accepting the award on behalf of the full Coalition were seven of the participating organizations: Scott and Rock Island County Emergency Management Agencies, Rock Island and Scott County Health Departments, Community Health Care, Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health — Trinity.

“I think it’s a testament to what we do here, how people in the Quad Cities deal with these kinds of events,” Dave Donovan, Director of the Scott County Emergency Management Agency, said of the coalition being honored. “It shows you can work on your individual interests but you can work on them in the context of the community’s overall interest.”  

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Ryan Saddler, St Ambrose University’s first Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Saddler, who volunteered as the facilitator of the Chamber’s DEI Peer Roundtable, was recognized for his time, dedication, and support of the program. Saddler, who is in his 26th year at his alma mater St Ambrose, is most proud of the fact that DEI has become part of the Quad Cities’ conversation.

“As I’m constantly telling our group ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a journey. It’s not a destination,” Saddler said. “It’s not a program where you get a certificate and pass. It’s a journey and we’re all learning.”

Although COVID-19 pushed the roundtables to an online platform, Saddler guided his DEI peer group through monthly discussions centered around the topic of diversity, particularly in the workplace. Over the year, the group shared many meaningful, thought-provoking, and, sometimes, difficult discussions.

Recently, Saddler said the group met in person and outlined changes in their organizations that resulted from the conversations, ideas and best practices they had discussed. “It’s been pretty dynamic and rewarding to see the group’s growth and the changes based on information shared by someone else that gave us that ‘ah-ha’ moment,” he said.

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